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India Fight Back To Equalise 3-3
26/02/2006
India-Pakistan Hockey Series, Rawalpindi

India 3 Pakistan 3


Facing a deficit of 0-3, India fought back brilliantly to equalize 3-3
and clinch the Warid Cup at the Army Hockey Club, Rawalpindi. With this
draw, India won the Pakistan leg of the six-match hockey series.
Earlier, in the series, India drew 1-1 at Lahore; beat Pakistan 2-1 at
Faisalabad.
Pakistan, however, were the overall winners of the series winning 3-0,
all their wins coming in India.
Playing without Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi, it seemed India would
take advantage of the hosts’ weakened forward line. But defence lapses
from India ensured that Pakistan were 2-0 up at the break.
Whenever, India seemed to be getting their rhythm in the match, a
defensive lapse would erode confidence.
Pakistan took the lead in the 3rd minute when a weak Dilawar shot from
outside the circle wasn’t trapped cleanly by Harpal Singh. The rebound
was picked up by Tariq Aziz who shot in without a delay.
India was pegged on the back foot as Pakistan skipper Mohammed Saqlain
played his heart out. Distributing through balls and also making
inroads past the Indian midfield, Saqlain ensured that Pakistan didn’t miss
the injured Rehan and Shakeel.
In the 27th minute, yet another defensive error led to Pakistan’s
second goal. Mudassar Ali Khan took a wild swipe from outside the striking
circle. Vinay tried to trap the ball but edged it towards the far post.
As the ball headed to strike the post, an unmarked Saqlain rushed in
from the side and guided it into goal. Kanwalpreet Singh standing next to
the Pakistan skipper was more intent on the ball than the man he was
supposed to mark.
India shifted Arjun Halappa and Ignace Tirkey combined well for a spell
of domination that lasted for five minutes and gave India two penalty
corners but both were wasted.
After the break, India did push with Prabodh Tirkey advancing to help
the midfield. But yet another defensive lapse threatened to turn the
match into a rout. In the 42nd minute, Saqlain sent a perfect scoop to
Shabbir Khan. Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri judged it wrongly and came rushing
out of the goal post. Shabbir, however, trapped the scoop cleanly and
seeing Chetri caught midway sent his shot between the keeper and the
post. None of the Indian defenders seeing that Chetri had charged out came
forward to cover the gaps.
Three minutes later, India had a great chance to cut the deficit but
Rajpal saw his flick hit the upright.
The Indians were now charging through the middle as Pakistan somewhat
relaxed at the back. India earned their third penalty corner in the 53rd
minute and Sandeep Singh’s flick, though low, went through Salman
Akhbar’s pads.
Four minutes later, Didar and Shivender Singh stitched together a move
but the final pass couldn’t be pushed in by Tejbir with Salman beaten.
But the aggressive tactics by the Indians had the Pakistan defence in
all sorts of trouble.
India cut the deficit further when Tejbir making for the earlier lapse
shot in from the right, the rising shot completely beating Salman
Akhbar for India’s second goal.
Tejbir again showed his wonderful skills in the 61st minute when he
headed straight to the middle of the circle but at the last minute, cut
the ball back to Vikram Pillay standing unmarked on the left. Vikram’s
powerful shot went through Salman’s pads, the second time that the
Pakistan goalkeeper had let the ball in through his pads. At 3-3, with the
game equalized, India looked good enough for a winner.
But two minutes later, Sardara Singh, who had been warned earlier, was
this time shown the yellow card for dangerous play and India were
reduced to ten men with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Pakistan also replaced their goalkeeper Salman and brought in Nasir
Ahmed.
Struggling to keep their midfield moving and ensuring that the defence
was in full strength, India somehow, kept the score line at 3-3 to
finish off the match.
 
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